Salary Cap Set at $143.28M…Franchise Tags Announced

The NFL officially set the salary cap at $143.28 million for the 2015 League Year, a growth of slightly more than $10 million from 2014. Unlike the 2014 salary cap jump this one was somewhat expected so I don’t believe it has the same impact as last year’s number, but it is certainly a good thing for the players and teams in the league. The NFL also announced the finalized adjustements for the 2014 season, but those numbers had already been used in our salary cap pages for some time.

With the cap set the NFL also set the official franchise and transition tag numbers, which were necessary to allow teams to use their tags by the 4PM deadline today. Officially six players were tagged. Those players were

Jason Pierre-Paul, DE, Giants- $14,813,000

Justin Houston, LB, Chiefs- $13,195,000

Dez Bryant, WR, Cowboys- $12,823,000

Demaryius Thomas, WR, Broncos- $12,823,000

Charles Clay, TE, Dolphins- $7,071,000 (transition tag)

Stephen Gostowski, K, Patriots- $4,560,000

The only surprise on the list was Clay who is a decent player, but never someone considered to be in the upper echelon of the position. A $7 million salary ranks second in the NFL among tight ends and 7th in salary cap hits.

Players who were rumored to be tagged that were not included Ndmukong Suh (whose tag number was so high it’s hard to believe it was a rumor), Jerry Hughes, Julius Thomas, DeMarco Murray, Jeremy Maclin, and Devin McCourty. In some cases that is an indication that the tag was considered too high for the value of the player, but it does not mean that the teams will not continue to work on an extension.

Please note that franchise tenders are not contracts until signed. Players remain free agents and are free to negotiate with any team in the NFL. However the tags allow the team to match any offer sheet signed by the player. In addition a team with a franchise player that fails to match a contract will receive two first round picks as compensation. Because of that any movement usually requires a trade since two first round picks is considered too large a price to pay for any player. This is not the case for the transition tag where they only have the opportunity to match.

Teams have until 4PM on March 10 to tender their exclusive and restricted free agents. The RFA tenders should be $3.352M (1st round), $2.356 (2nd round), and $1.542M (ROFR/Original Round). Expect those tenders to begin trickling in this week.

We’ll be constantly updating our salary cap estimates, free agency pages, and everything else as we get information. Feel free to contact us with anything you see in error or additional information that we do not have. Our goal is to keep that as accurate as possible for anyone who uses OTC.